Seoul National University partners with top international experts to study methane emissions from Korea’s natural gas system

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(SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a leading international non-profit organization, today announced that it has signed a new agreement with the Seoul National University Graduate School of Environmental Studies (SNU GSES) to study where and how much methane leaks from the country’s gas distribution system in Seoul. They will also facilitate collaboration between industry, government and scientists to develop new policies and practices to reduce methane emissions throughout the nation’s gas system.

Attending the event were EDF’s Senior Vice President for Energy Transition, Mark Brownstein, and EDF’s Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President, Dr Steven Hamburg, as well as SNU’s Yonghoon Son, Vice Dean of the Graduate School of Environmental Studies, and Professor Sujong Jeong from SNU’s Graduate School of Environmental Studies.

“Reducing methane is a vital goal that must be achieved to achieve carbon neutrality and respond to the climate crisis. The research agreement between EDF, a global research institute that will soon launch a methane monitoring satellite, and SNU’s Graduate School of Environmental Studies will be an important opportunity to address the global climate crisis in Korea and beyond said Sujong Jeong of SNU. .

Natural gas is composed primarily of methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas. Last fall, South Korea joined more than 100 countries, including Japan and the United States, in signing the Global Commitment for Methanewhich calls for collective efforts to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. New research under the deal could help policymakers better understand how much it can reduce emissions by tightening gas infrastructure .

Asia-Pacific countries have become a key driver of the natural gas market. Already, South Korea, Japan and China account for 50% of global liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade. By 2050, the region is expected to account for nearly 60% of new growth in global gas demand. Natural gas is preferable to coal in terms of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but leaking methane and other emissions undermine these benefits.

“South Korea is a world leader in innovation and clean energy technologies like electric vehicles. Joining forces to help find and reduce methane emissions is a vital opportunity to expand that role, both in the region and on the global stage,” said EDF’s Brownstein.

Credible and transparent data on methane emissions along the oil and gas supply chain is urgently needed to design mitigation strategies and enable effective policies, but emissions data from LNG gas production, storage and delivery through long-distance and local pipelines in the Asia-Pacific region have been particularly sparse.

The joint effort of SNU GSES and EDF is expected to contribute to filling the gaps in the understanding of methane emissions from oil and gas by facilitating the exchange of scientific knowledge and best practices related to methane measurements, as well as to validate the evolution of remote sensing data and to provide information in differences between and within datasets.

“We are delighted to collaborate and share resources to support and advance the development of policy-relevant methane science with the prestigious Seoul National University,” said EDF in Hamburg. “This is a critical opportunity for countries and businesses to accelerate their ability to achieve the ambition of net zero and energy security pathways, targets and commitments.”

The International Energy Agency said that oil and gas operators in Asia-Pacific can use current technologies to reduce methane emissions by 70% by 2030.

“Reducing methane emissions is an achievable and very cost-effective process. It starts with locating and measuring emission sources,” Hamburg said. “This partnership with SNU represents EDF’s commitment to work on region-specific methane mitigation strategies and we hope it will contribute to Asia-Pacific oil and gas suppliers being in able to rapidly achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Under this agreement, EDF and SNU will cooperate to:

  • Facilitating dialogue and collaboration between scientists, academics, industry and policy makers on methane studies and energy policy to raise awareness of methane climate impacts and achieve reductions.
  • Methane detection, mapping and measurement of the Seoul city urban gas distribution network in accordance with best practices and principles, resulting in a peer-reviewed scientific publication.
  • Exchange of information and experiences regarding the study of methane emissions, including methods for detection, mapping, quantification and attribution of methane emissions from the natural gas distribution network and LNG facilities.
  • Development and dissemination of SNU-EDF research results with key stakeholders, and exchange of information associated with EDF leadership and activities in institutions such as the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) and MethaneSAT, LLC.

Created in 1967, EDF is headquartered in four key regions (China, India, Europe and the United States) and operates in 28 geographical areas with unique projects covering programs in the fields of energy, nature and health. EDF has contributed significantly to raising awareness of the importance of methane mitigation in the global climate agenda through a decade of science and advocacy that has expanded knowledge and solutions to tackle methane . Soon, this set of solutions will include data from the EDF subsidiary MethaneSATwhich, when orbiting Earth next year, will be able to provide comprehensive, high-quality information on methane emissions from at least 80% of global oil and gas production.

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